THE BLOG

Keeping Watch Over Health and Human Services

03/06/2015 03:39 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2015

Daniel R. Levinson has headed the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services for more than a decade. In this role, he manages a staff of 1,600 employees who delve into some of the government's hot-button issues, including health care, medical research, food and drug safety, disease prevention, welfare, and child and family services.

In an interview, Levinson explained how he tries to set the direction for his workforce without micromanaging and talks about the importance of giving his employees the resources to do their jobs. He spoke with me, a guest writer for On Leadership. I am a vice president at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and head of its Center for Government Leadership. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Q. What drew you to public service?

A. During my first decade out of law school, I became interested in the effective functioning of government and how government operations could improve. By the time I entered government service in the early 1980s, I had a background in law with an intense interest in policy. I really enjoyed the opportunity to make a big difference in what I was doing.

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This post was originally featured on the Washington Post's website.